Rockit is an open source hybrid analog and digital monophonic synthesizer. It features a digital brain surrounded by analog circuitry which gives Rockit its characteristic sound. With the flexibility of digital oscillators and the pure sonic magic of analog filters, Rockit makes a wide range of sounds from simple leads to wild and wacky screaming modulated pads and super fat basslines.
- The first rule of Rockit is open source. It’s completely open, from the hardware to the software. You’ll even find detailed design discussions here on my blog that demonstrate how I designed it and how you can modify it. Rockit’s source code is in C, the world’s best and easiest language. Don’t spend hours tracing variables though Assembly or trying to figure out C++ objects, when you can follow simple procedural C.
- My fundamental design guideline has been to make almost all parameters instantly accessible. There are no menus, no submenus, no sub-submenus. My theory is that, if you’re going to make hardware make it hardware, not an embedded soft synth. Rockit is an excellent tool for making sounds. The options are all right in front of you all the time.
- The second fundamental design guideline is that all parameters are MIDI accessible. There is no setting which cannot be accessed through a MIDI control channel. That includes all filter parameters. Rockit also sends MIDI out for recording and playing back knob twists and at the same time makes it a solid 18 knob control surface.
- Rockit has two oscillators, each with 16 waveshapes. They range from simple Sine, Square, Triangle, and Ramp, to complex morphing waveshapes with variable amount of pulse-width modulation and shape shifting. The oscillators can be variably mixed and the second oscillator detuned from the first.
- To control the amplitude, Rockit has a full ADSR envelope, right there in knobs. The ADSR envelope is a hardware VCA, which reduces aliasing of the type caused by non-linearities in ladder DACs, i.e. it sounds better.
- Analog filter. Soft synths have digital filters. If you’re going to do a hardware synth, then I think an analog filter is best. The filter is all analog but it’s control is all digital. This leads back to the MIDI controllability and the option of altering it’s behavior with the software, which I remind you is open-source. Don’t like it? Change it.
- Rockit gives you 3 filter modes, Low Pass, Band Pass, and High Pass, with resonance levels that range from not much to holy hell. It also has a complete filter ADSR envelope, all in hardware for envelopes that can be snappy for drums or super long laid back for swelling pads.
- The filter can process external sounds too. Run your sound source into the audio input and use Rockit’s filter, filter envelope, and LFOs to fatten, tweak, or destroy your sound.
- Rockit has two LFOs for modulating any of its parameters. The LFOs also have 16 waveshapes from which to choose for a seemingly endless variety of sound manipulation.
- Rockit features a Drone Mode and Loop Mode. This makes Rockit function as a standalone instrument. Drone Mode plays a continuous tone, or a sequence of arpeggiations, while the filter envelope loops and the LFOs run. Turn it on, hit drone, and lose your mind for a few hours. Trust me. I’ve been there. Loop Mode does what Drone mode does but remembers knob turns over a 16 step sequence. Now you can make some seriously crazy loops!
- Rockit has 16 patch save and recall locations. Saves and recalls happen quickly and on the fly.
- Finally, Rockit is fun to build. It’s available as a kit, so you can learn about electronics assembly on your way to having a kick-ass new synth.
Interested, buy it here. It’s always in stock and waiting to start or join your studio.